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article imageMH17 search suspended over security concerns: Dutch PM

By AFP     Aug 6, 2014 in World

International experts have suspended their search for body parts at the MH17 crash site on Wednesday because of deteriorating security in eastern Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

"It doesn't make sense to continue with the repatriation in this manner," the Dutch leader told a press conference in The Hague.

Rutte said increasing tension between Kiev -- which is battling pro-Russian separatists in the area -- has made it too unsafe to continue with the search for victims' remains.

"It goes without saying that Australia and Malaysia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation are with us on this issue," Rutte said.

"We have done what we could under the current circumstances," he said.

A total 298 passengers and crew were killed when the Boeing 777 jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was blown out of the sky almost three weeks ago.

The United States says insurgents shot down the plane with a surface-to-air missile likely supplied by Russia, but Moscow and the rebels blame the Ukrainian military.

On Monday, Malaysian experts joined Dutch and Australian police for the first time as they continued combing the area for traces of the victims.

So far, 228 coffins with human remains have been flown to The Netherlands, which suffered the most casualties in the July 17 crash, where the painstaking identification process is taking place.

The probe into the crash has been repeatedly delayed because of fighting in the region.

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